Frenchman Lucas Pouille has become the first top player to declare he will not play Wimbledon because there will be no ranking points. And the former Australian Open semi-finalist reckons prize money will be cut after the points penalty.
British No.1 Cam Norrie warned that stars will stay away from SW19 following the decision to penalise the All England Club for banning Russian and Belarusian players. The ATP and WTA have announced that no points will be awarded at Wimbledon this year.
But world No.165 Pouille, who underwent elbow surgery last year, told L’Equipe: “I was in no way associated with his decision which I do not agree with. I understand the frustration of the Russian players and the injustice of it, I know they have nothing to do with it, but now there is an injustice for 240 players instead of 12. We can’t all pay the consequences. I do not know how the players are going to react.
“It was never a unanimous decision, that I know. We don’t even know if there was a vote. In any case, all the players I have spoken to are against it.
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Told that there was still a Grand Slam title to compete for, Pouille added: “Of course, that will always be something fantastic. But it is not just about who wins.
“Anyone who comes out of qualifying and wins three rounds, they could have got into the top 100 with that result. Yes, you will find yourself with a nice cheque but with nothing to validate their sporting performance.”